Amid new drama in United States-China trade negotiations, Republicans on Capitol Hill said Wednesday they remain confident in President Donald Trump to make a strong deal that benefits their constituents, even if they are uncomfortable with some of his tactics.

“I certainly would hope the president and his team sit down and get a good deal. I’m cautiously optimistic they can do that,” said Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., though he added, “but China’s never been known to negotiate fair or trade fair.”

President Trump has threatened to hike tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods at the end of this week after negotiators reportedly backtracked on commitments to address U.S. demands in the latest draft of the trade agreement.

“For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50 Billion Dollars of High Tech, and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods. These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results. The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday,” Trump tweeted Sunday.

With tensions high in the wake of Beijing’s reversals and Trump’s tariff threat, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He traveled to the U.S. Wednesday for two days of meetings with Trump administration officials, aiming to stave off the new penalties. Some Republicans are also hoping further escalation of the trade war can be avoided.

“I’m not a fan of more tariffs,” Davis said. “Tariffs are terrible for our agriculture community in central Illinois.”

Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, said many manufacturers in his district have raised concerns about the tariffs already imposed, but they have not yet turned against the president.

“Every manufacturer in my district that has concerns about the tariffs and how its affecting their businesses, they’re also supportive of what the president is trying to do,” Johnson said. “They said, look, we know this is tough, if there’s any way you can help us right now, that’s great, but we stand with the president in trying to level the playing field.”

According to Rep. Russ Fulcher, R-Idaho, the pain inflicted on U.S. businesses by the tariffs and counter-tariffs cannot be dismissed, but it is much less severe than the damage the Chinese are experiencing because of them. If it forces China to change its approach to intellectual property and other issues, he argued, keeping the tariffs in place may be worth it.

“From a 30,000-foot level, the tariffs are working,” Fulcher said.

Author: Stephan Loiaconi

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